Funding sought for estimated $1.411 million Pequot Lakes wastewater project

City fills full-time police officer slot

Pequot Lakes City Hall sign Jan 2023.JPG
The Pequot Lakes City Hall sign is shown in the snow in January 2023.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal

PEQUOT LAKES — The Pequot Lakes City Council will continue to pursue an application for funding for a potential $1.411 million wastewater improvement project.

At the council’s regular meeting Monday, April 3, a required public hearing was held for the project that would involve a force main replacement and lift station rehabilitation.

No one spoke at the public hearing.

The public hearing was required because the city is seeking an unmatched $600,000 grant from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development Small Cities Development Program.

City Engineer Tim Houle, with Widseth engineering firm, gave a presentation on the project. He noted that not part of this application is a third wastewater pond, which could be a separately funded future project.


The force main in the project is reaching the end of its service life, having had a break in October 2021 and February 2022. It’s difficult to get replacement parts because of its age.

The lift station is also estimated to be over 55 years old and equipment is showing signs of wear. An increase in force main size will require an increase in pumping capacity.

Gail Leverson, a funding specialist with Widseth, presented funding information, including potential funding sources.

Total project cost is estimated at $1,411,000.

Headline News from The PineandLakes Echo Journal

It’s proposed the city seek a Public Finance Authority low-interest loan of $811,000 and the Small Cities Development Program grant of $600,000.

If funding is secured, it’s hoped all construction could be completed by October 2024.

Public safety

Chris Melin will join the Pequot Lakes Police Department as a full-time officer this month after council approval Monday.

Melin is a part-time officer in Pequot Lakes with ties to the area and a full-time sergeant in Eveleth.


The council acknowledged a letter thanking school police liaison officer Sheri Fyle for her work, and learned of the resignation of part-time officer Jonti Roos.

The council approved the 2023-24 contract for fire services with the Pequot Lakes Fire District for $102,189 and the Fire Relief Association for $15,060.

Also approved was the 2023 fire protection agreement to cover the Inland Trails area of Nisswa for $2,070.

The Pequot Lakes Fire District had 12 calls in March, including five vehicle crashes (four at Highway 371 and South Patriot Avenue and one at Highway 371 and County Road 11, all in Pequot Lakes) and a structure fire in Jenkins Township.

Cheri Seils was absent from Monday’s meeting.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Learned the grand opening of the Pequot Lakes splash pad will be from 4-7 p.m. Thursday, May 25, in North Trailside Park, featuring local organizations, vendors, crafters and food trucks.
  • Heard an Economic Development Commission update regarding potential funding for housing opportunities. The council discussed ways to reach people for housing rehabilitation help.
  • Approved two rezoning requests: for AJA Inter Galactic LLC to rezone 15 acres on Ballards Boulevard, and for Tyler Gardner and Nicholas Makowsky to rezone 19 acres adjacent to Lilac Drive — both from commercial to urban residential.

Gardner, the city’s mayor, abstained from both votes.

  • Hired Ken Evjen as a maintenance worker. The city received 20 applications.
  • Approved engineering services with Widseth for an estimated $90,000 to extend Larsen Parkway.
  • Agreed to apply for City Impact Funds from Sourcewell to remodel and renovate city hall to make the police department more accessible to the public by moving it downstairs.
  • Met in closed session for an employee performance evaluation of police officer Kate Petersen.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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